VISIT COLLEGES YOU’RE INTERESTED IN.
Time to set up your college visits. When you go, try to see as much as you can when you’re there – sit in on classes, meet with students, professors and admission and financial aid counselors, visit a club or sports event and stay overnight in a dorm if possible. Be prepared to ask questions and take a camera with you.
TALK TO YOUR FAMILY ABOUT PAYING FOR COLLEGE.
This shouldn’t be the first time you’ve had this discussion, but it’s a good time to have it again. Discuss what works best for you and your family. Consider taking the time to apply for more scholarship opportunities, if you haven’t already.
MEET WITH YOUR COUNSELOR.
Hopefully, you’ve been using your counselor as a resource throughout all of high school, but if not, know is the time. He or she can help you understand college requirements better, find colleges that are the right fit for you, even help you get recommendations.
CONSIDER RETAKING THE ACT OR SAT.
You’ll probably have taken your SAT and ACT during junior year, but it’s not too late to do so at the beginning of senior year. You can retake some tests to improve your scores. You can also take additional tests, such as the SAT subject tests to boost your application or if it is required by your college.
REQUEST RECOMMENDATIONS AND TRANSCRIPTS.
Give enough time for people to complete their recommendations and work with them. Review your transcript to make sure it’s accurate, though your counselor or your school will send the official transcript to your colleges.
COMPLETE YOUR FAFSA
The FAFSA is key to getting aid. Seniors applying for Fall 2017 should complete it as soon after October 1st so you can to qualify for as much financial aid as possible. After completing the FAFSA, you will get your financial aid report which lists the various types of financial aid you are eligible to receive.
APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
There’s still time to apply for scholarships. Look for local or outside scholarships (your counselor can help). Check with your family’s employers and see what they offer. Don’t miss out on national scholarships either, which are often sponsored by large companies. Colleges themselves often offer scholarships as well, and this is usually outlined in the financial aid package.
WRITE YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY.
Not all, but most college applications, require an essay. They can range from very general such as describe yourself or explain why you want to attend that specific college to explore a topic/issue. Checking the applications at the school you want to attend in advance will help know what essay or essays you’ll need to write. Be honest and specific, while writing in your own voice. Make sure to have a parent or teacher proofread your essay to catch any mistakes.
Review financial aid offers early.
Colleges send financial aid award letters to tell you how much and what kinds of aid they are offering you. Discuss with your family what works best for your goals and your financial situation. You can always contact a financial aid office if you have questions.
COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS.
Applications can require forms, transcripts, test scores, essays, letters of recommendations, portfolios, auditions or interviews, or more. Find out in advance what the colleges you are applying to need. Keep track of those deadlines and make sure to get everything done before then. Doing a little each day makes it a lot easier and you won’t rush through your applications and make mistakes. Don’t wait until the last minute to send mailings – send application materials weeks ahead of time if you can.
CONGRATULATIONS! CHOOSE A COLLEGE AND ACCEPT AN OFFER.
Once you’ve chosen your college, you have to accept their offer by the deadline and submit any necessary paperwork. Then, you’ll also need to send in any deposits to secure housing or for tuition.